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News

  • How Exercise Boosts Memory
    Huffington Post Blog - "The scientific evidence is now clear. If you want to keep your mind sharp as you age, you need to keep physically active. The explanation has to do with the broad-reaching effects of exercise on the chemistry, physiology and structure of the brain."
  • Campus awards first Certificate of Undergraduate Research
    University of Illinois - "Jennifer Merritt’s mind was racing as she prepared to graduate last fall. She was working part-time in the lab of Professor Justin Rhodes and trying to maintain high grades. She was working hard to graduate in December, a semester early. She was hoping her research experience would be an asset when she began applying to jobs and graduate programs."
  • Clownfish Sex Tape(The Circle of Life Has Never Been so Sexy!) [Video]
    Beckman Institute - This steamy, hidden-camera sex tape gets you up-close and personal with clownfish and shows you what they get up to when the lights go out. This video features a fun and fact-filled display of the secret sex life of the clown anemonefish... caught in the act and in full HD. The circle of life has never been so sexy!
  • Finding Nemo lied to your kids, and they will do it again in the sequel: Finding Dory!
    The Fisheries Blog  - The Disney film, Finding Nemo, lied to your kids!  Disney would simply argue that they altered reality to create a more entertaining storyline, but read below for the true story, and you tell me which you think is a more entertaining.
  • Why I Think Better after I Exercise?
    Scientific American  - After being cooped up inside all day, your afternoon stroll may leave you feeling clearheaded. This sensation is not just in your mind. A growing body of evidence suggests we think and learn better when we walk or do another form of exercise. The reason for this phenomenon, however, is not completely understood.
  • What is a Spandrel? Explaining Evolutionary Adaptations and Side Effects [Video]
    Beckman Institute - Neuroscientist and evolutionary biologist Justin Rhodes explains the difference between traits that are the result of evolutionary adaptation and others that are genetic spillovers. Winner of a Regional Emmy!
  • Men Are Better Navigators Than Women, But Not Because of Evolution
    Smithosian Blog - Some stereotypes are based on nothing, but studies have verified one generalization that we encounter in our daily lives: men tend to be better navigators than women. Though the phenomenon appears in a range of species, researchers don’t understand why it’s happening.
  • Why Men Are Better Navigators Than Women: Adaptation or Side Effect? [Video]
    Beckman Institute - Neuroscientist Justin Rhodes explodes the myths behind why males are better at navigation than females.
  • Exercise Protects the Elderly Against Brain Shrinkage
    Discovery Fit & Health - "The brain shrinks as we age, reducing memory and thinking abilities in the elderly and researchers are constantly looking at ways to minimize this atrophy of the brain."
  • Investigating Sex-Changing Clownfish (featuring Justin Rhodes) [Video]
    Beckman Institute - Clownfish burst onto the public scene nearly a decade ago with Disney-PIXAR's now classic animated film "Finding Nemo." Perhaps unsurprisingly, the film left out a very important part of the clownfish story -- that clownfish can actually change their sex in response to their social environment. Beckman Institute neuroscientist Justin Rhodes examines how the clownfish brain orchestrates this amazing, gender-bending swap.
  • Q&A: The key to a better brain is exercise
    SmartPlanet - "Keeping your brain sharp may not, in fact, be about doing more challenging crossword puzzles or engaging in specialized digital games or relearning the quadratic equation. What can make all the difference is something more fun and far less intuitive: Toss a frisbee, dance, run, skip. Get active."
  • How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain
    New York Times - "For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship."
  • How Exercise Can Prime the Brain for Addiction
    New York Times - "Statistically, people who exercise are much less likely than inactive people to abuse drugs or alcohol. But can exercise help curb addictions? Some research shows that exercise may stimulate reward centers in the brain, helping to ease cravings for drugs or other substances. But according to an eye-opening new study of cocaine-addicted mice, dedicated exercise may in some cases make it even harder to break an addiction."
  • Timing Critical for Using Exercise as Drug Addiction Intervention
    Beckman News - "Could exercise have beneficial effects for treating drug addiction, such as have been shown for disease prevention and improving cognitive health?"
  • New neurons reduce drug-seeking behavior
    Nature News Blog - "Now, research presented at this week's annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington DC shows that increasing the brain’s ability to generate new neurons decreases drug-seeking behaviours in rodents. The implication is that therapies that boost neurogenesis may one day help drug addicts on the long road to recovery."
  • Nemo Meets Neuroscience
    Synergy -
    "Justin Rhodes is a neuroscience researcher who created a new marine biology laboratory at the Beckman Institute that will use clownfish and their ability to change sex in order to gain insights into brain plasticity."
  • Teen brain less sensitive to cocaine?
    U. ILLINOIS (US)—Adolescent brains respond differently to cocaine and methamphetamine when compared to adults given the same dose, according to a new study.
  • Limit to Fitness (short)
    Science Magazine - "Exercise helps new neurons form in the mammalian hippocampus, a brain area vital in learning and memory. But is a bigger hippocampus necessarily better?"
  • Running to Distraction
    ScienceNow -
    "Die-hard joggers now have a new worry. If they're anything like running-addicted mice, they may want to ease off their training regimen to stay sharp. Even though running makes mice sprout new neurons, running compulsively makes them slower learners."
  • Rhodes Probes Causal Mechanisms of Voluntary Behaviors
    Beckman News
    - "Rhodes’ research as part of the NeuroTech group seeks to find the causal mechanisms that underlie motivational behaviors. One of his research projects was among the first to find that motivation for beneficial behaviors such as exercise and motivation for detrimental behaviors like alcoholism and drug addiction could have the same neurological bases."